Compared to other more avant-garde manufacturers, Ligne Roset doesn’t usually fill us with excitement, but lately their work by young designers has freshened up the collection somewhat. The brand was also one of the few to show new material in the sprawling, 12-block Kölnmesse – an opportunity we wish more brands would take.
Our favourite was Lamp06 by Nathalie Dewez. The outline of a shade is mimicked in the skeletal wire stand. The exposed light bulb adds to the product’s bare appearance, while a little switch at the top changes its direction – a perfect spotlight for kitsch ornaments. Multiprise by Normal Studio is a multiple power outlet that also serves as a light.
Bertjan Pot has followed in the footsteps of his nautically obsessed neighbour Wieki Somers and designed a boat-shaped bench for Arco.
“The idea behind it is a tree trunk that has been pared down to the very limit so it looks like the hull of the ship,” says the Rotterdam-based designer.
Although the piece looks simple, like Bertjan’s slim table (which the bench has been designed to complement), it hides a complex structure. Called Arc, it is built of wooden “ribs” that are hidden by the product’s oak facade.
Pot also did an installation for Arco, plonking the manufacturer’s existing products on top of each other to create a colourful ensemble.
The showcase for young designers in Cologne’s 12-block Kölnmesse was one of the highlights of the city’s design week.
Swiss designer Raphaël von Allmen won the judge’s vote with his steel and strengthened polypropylene chair. It wasn’t our choice for first prize, but the backrest has a curved detail surrounding the rim that we really liked, and its four steel legs stick out at awkward angles, giving it an endearing donkey-like quality.
Katrin Sonnleitner’s puzzle rug allows the user to choose the pattern. Instead of a Persian rug-maker arranging knots to create a carpet, the user slots together rubber “knots” in a sequence he or she finds aesthetically pleasing. Recent Design Academy Eindhoven graduate Hunn Wai showed his Tre di Una chairs. The wooden parts are joined with clay rather than the usual glue and bolts, making the chairs look like they could creep towards you. Meanwhile, Canadian designer Robert Southcott’s chairs appear to grow upwards into a tree. Each is too top-heavy to stand alone, so they must intertwine to stay upright, reminding us of the importance of neighbours.
This foam rug, decorated with life-size cakes, sweets and muffins, was also shown at D3. German designer Wahl made silicone moulds of five different treats, and then filled them with polyurethane foam. Although it resembles something from a dark Brothers Grimm fairytale, it could function very well as a spongy children’s play mat.
Aylin Kayser and Christian Metzner
In the D3 showcase was a wax light shade by German designers Kayser and Metzner. It’s impractical and very messy – but original. As the bulb heats up the wax, the shade melts from the inside out and reforms in a different shape on the floor. We saw it half way through the process – molten and disfigured.
Kaether & Weise
Ehrenfeld, an industrial wasteland on the outskirts, was being hyped as the city’s “incubating centre”, but trawling through the area on a dark January afternoon wasn’t too enlightening. We did manage to find this pleasing collapsible chair by German duo Kaether & Weise, exhibited in a place that was made to look like the site of a crime scene.
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